What’s the best advice you ever received? Was it when Mom told you to wear sunscreen, or your sister the economics major explained the importance of compound interest?
Or maybe you’re partial to the tip Wallace Shawn’s character Vizzini related in “The Princess Bride”: “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”
It’s helpful to hear more good advice, no matter how old you are. Here’s a sampling of some of the best advice that billionaires, CEOs and other famous folks say they ever received.
Barack Obama: Trust yourself, and keep clean
President Barack Obama said he received two treasured pieces of advice from his predecessor, George W. Bush.
The first was a serious one. Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Bush advised him, “Trust yourself, and know that ultimately, regardless of the day-to-day news cycles and the noise, that the American people need their president to succeed regardless of political party.”
But it was the other piece of advice that made more headlines. Obama said Bush told him, “Always use Purell hand sanitizer, because if you don’t, you are going to get a lot of colds, because you shake a lot of hands.”
Donald Trump: Don’t be afraid of mistakes
President Donald Trump has authored an entire book on his favorite guidance from successful businesspeople, "Trump: The Way to the Top -- The Best Business Advice I Ever Received."
One of the tips the businessman-turned-politician relates in the book involves decisiveness:
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can always fix them after. What is important is to get the facts and make a decision. Remember that no decision is still a decision.”
Another tip from the book relates to contracts, but could be seen as good advice for life in general: “If you deal with good people, you won’t need a contract, and if you are dealing with bad people, no contract can protect you.”
Kobe Bryant: Be yourself
Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant was once asked about the best advice that basketball legend Michael Jordan ever handed down.
“Probably the best advice was to be me,” Bryant said in an interview. “[Jordan has] faced a lot of criticism as well throughout his career. … He said don’t change who you are, play your game and everybody will adjust to that. But you have to be yourself.”
Mark Cuban: Appreciate your age
Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is known as a “shark” investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and as owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
When Men’s Health asked him for the best advice he’s received, Cuban said, “Today is the youngest you will ever be. Live like it.”
Richard Branson: Have no regrets
Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Group, didn’t have to go far from home for his favorite advice. Branson wrote on LinkedIn:
“The best advice I ever received? Simple: Have no regrets. Who gave me the advice? Mum’s the word. …
My mother has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped shape my life. But having no regrets stands out above all others, because it has informed every aspect of my life and every business decision we have ever made.”
Martha Stewart: You can do anything
Lifestyle magnate Martha Stewart came by her self-confidence with some help from her father. Stewart wrote on LinkedIn:
“The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father when I was 12 years old and willing to listen. He told me that with my personal characteristics, I could, if I set my mind to it, do anything I chose.
This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and, despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I think it really often is up to the parents to help build confidence in their children. It is a very necessary part of growing up.”
T. Boone Pickens: Don’t blame others
Grandmothers have been around long enough to dispense some of the best advice. That’s the case for business magnate T. Boone Pickens, who wrote on LinkedIn:
“If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail.
Here’s how she put it: ‘Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.’
After more than half a century in the energy business, her advice has proven itself to be spot-on time and time again.”
Craig Newmark: Make ’em laugh
Craig Newmark learned years ago the importance of humor. The Craigslist founder wrote at LinkedIn:
“I’m a nerd, seriously hard-core, and sometimes that translates into being a know-it-all.
People got tired of that while I worked at an IBM branch office in Detroit in the ’80s. My boss told [me] that it had become a real problem with about half my co-workers.
However, he said that my saving grace was my sense of humor. … The advice was to focus on my sense of humor and worry less about being exactly right. For sure, don’t correct people when it matters little.”
Maya Angelou: Forgive
Oprah Winfrey once asked the late author and poet Maya Angelou about the best advice she ever received.
“I guess the greatest advice is to forgive,” she told Winfrey. “I don’t anoint it with anything, I just forgive it.”
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